Qatar Airways buys 10% stake in Cathay Pacific

Akbar Al Baker chief executive officer of Qatar Airways speaks during the CAPA Asia Aviation and Corporate Travel Summit in Singapore on Tuesday

Qatar Airways will purchase the stake for HK$5.16 billion ($662 million) from Kingboard Chemical Holdings and associates, according to a statement, becoming Cathay's third largest investor after local conglomerate Swire Pacific with a 45 percent holding and Air China with nearly 30 percent.

The Qatari carrier announced a US$661 million (S$902.15 million) deal on Monday to buy a 9.61 per cent stake in Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, in a deal that will broaden its reach and potentially allow the Oneworld alliance member to increase traffic through its Doha hub.

It was rebuffed by American Airlines Group Inc (O:) earlier this year.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker said, "Qatar Airways is very pleased to complete its financial investment in Cathay Pacific".

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The move caused shares in Cathay Pacific to fall 4.7% on the Hong Kong exchange as investors anxious about its direction with Qatar on board. The stock was 1.7 percent down at 0342 GMT, while the broader market was down 1 percent.

"This may not necessarily be favorable for Cathay as it is facing operating challenges and undergoing transformation". The two carriers first entered into a relationship in 2014 with the announcement of twin daily flights between Hong Kong and Doha, although Qatar seemed markedly keener on the arrangement.

This investment further supports Qatar Airways' investment strategy which already includes 20% investment in International Airlines Group, 10% investment in LATAM Airlines Group and 49% investment in Meridiana. They add, an airline stake seemed pretty odd for a maker of circuit-board laminates, but the company's HK$800 million can not be discounted.

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